Majority of Norwegians Don’t Believe in God

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A stunning stave church in Lom, Norway

Atheism is a growing trend in Norway according to a new survey, which reveals that for the first time ever, a majority of Norwegians don't believe in god.

According to reports in The Local, the annual survey from Norsk Monitor revealed just 37 per cent answered yes compared to 39 per cent that answered no, when asked the simple question: “Do you believe in god?”

23 per cent said they didn't know. The percentage was higher in rural areas of Norway, whereas in the capital Oslo, only 29 per cent answered yes.

Giske Church near Ålesund in Norway
Giske Church near Ålesund in Norway

The postal survey sent to thousands of Norwegians shows a clear trend of atheism spreading across the country. Two years ago the numbers were broadly even, whereas back in 1985 half of all respondents said they believed in the existence of a god.

A trend away from faith

This caps a controversial few years for the Church of Norway who have been subject to a membership scandal, whereby thousands of people claim they were enrolled in the Church without their consent. The Church of Norway justifies its enormous state subsidy partly by its large number of members.

Some expats have moved to Norway and years later, found that they were automatically enrolled in a religious organisation when they obtained their residence permit.

The modern looking architecture of Tromsø's Arctic Cathedral actually dates back to the 1960s.
Arctic Cathedral, Tromsø

A recent poll by Aftenposten added further fuel to this fire, showing that less than half of the 3.8 million members of the Church of Norway consider themselves Christians. In fact, a whopping 33 per cent of Church of Norway members said they were atheists.

Den Norske Kirke (the Church of Norway) has belonged to the Evangelical Lutheran branch of the Christian church since the 16th century, and has been a state church since then until 2012.

Photo: Nick

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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8 thoughts on “Majority of Norwegians Don’t Believe in God”

  1. I’m surprised the figure is that high. Norway comes across as a highly secular Country where the God is (in Biblical terms) “Mammon”. There was a period up to and including the 50’s when God and Christianity was a lot more prevalent than it is now.

    King Haakon VII said:
    “The only thing which can save the world from difficulties and all evil is to turn back to early Christianity and the old Christian values.” But I guess he didn’t see the replacement god coming with the oil boom.

    Incidentally, when Catholicism was enforced by King Olav, the strongest opposition to it was right there on your doorstep in Ranheim.

    Evangelist Emanuel Minos recorded a prophecy given by a 90 year old lady from Moss in 1968 regarding the future, I read it recently and it is startling to see the accuracy of it.

    Thank you for the article.

  2. It is good that at least the thoughts of protestantism still influences the Norwegian society and I think many people are not aware. The real atheism which destroys the society from scratch as it is showing in some parts of the Central Europe would be a disaster for this country. The idea of supported church by a secular state is not biblical so that we can not automatically expect it will positively impact people’s lives. Maybe that system was made with good intentions but the real faith and formal membership in a church are (thank God) very different things.

  3. god is a fictional money making character. Mickey Mouse is real.God was invented long time ago to put fear in people to cut down on murder, robbery and sex out of their marriage,putting the fear of god fictional character to makesome scared that when they die would go to fictional hell. nobody ever came back from heaven or hell, but to put fear in some made them think they were better people, now the con, putting up to 10% of their income gave them first class seat in heaven. printing all this crap some believed in an in the USA, some say I’m a devout christian are looked up to. The catholic religion is a hideout for gays, child molesters hiding behind some man made god, there finished, now they can’t hide no more. even the pope with his gay wardrobe, proves his fag lifestyle.Only athiest are real, but these god loving clowns,like putting them down believe in your self, and try and live a good life, you don’t need a fictional character to help you, you need yourself and live right.

      • Well said, Ms. Duff. I am an American currently visiting Norway a country that I lived in for more than 11 years. I am staying with an old friend here in Vikersund. I love this country as much as I love my own. My friend has two daughters and when it came up in conversation that I was a believer in the Bible and our Lord Jesus Christ it was as if I had offended the two girls. This is a growing trend from what I gathered and it is a trend that has had devastating results in the U.S. I hope to gently bring the subject up again and try to testify to these young ladies as to exactly what a real Christian believes and why with the prayer that perhaps I can sew a seed. But as the parable teaches us sometimes that seed can fall on sand and not take root. But with the Lord’s help and His blessing perhaps there’s still a bit of fertility there. God Bless you.

  4. He won’t be missing anything, as fictional characters don’t consult!
    You are believing in a character who was made up by Bronze Age Sheep Herders. i.e. Moses who Supposedly needed a way to control the Israelites on their imaginary trek thru the desert! What better way to control people than an invisible deity who is everywhere & if you do bad things, he knows & will punish you!
    If you don’t believe in him, it’s into the Lake of Fire for eternity…
    Then there is the big lie, King James Version,
    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    Hard to resist eternal life when you are a brainwashed kid.

    AND of course there is the money thing. Catholic Church tithes 10% of parishioners income…don’t know how many actually pay.😉😊 In my small hometown, the Catholic Church needed a million bucks to renovate the old church. Signs on the church where to donate. The Priest(s) went after the rich tobacco farmers in the area. They had their money in a couple of weeks.

    The Catholic Church has always been devious. Could you imagine the info the priests got during their confessionals in Europe during the ‘Dark Ages’? It’s no wonder the Catholic Church ruled Europe for 1000 years.

    Churches, don’t pay taxes but expect free fire & ambulance services. My answer is, pray the fire out & pray the patient well. Speaking of prey, @lkrauss, had a question for people needing help. Do you want me to pray for you to get better or take you to the hospital?

  5. There always will be those who believe in God and those who don’t but all have one thing in common, all will have to die Period . So in this case my recommendation is, Seek the One who put you ( and your parents, etc )on this earth, its very rewarding and exciting task,do it while you still breathing.


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